Thomas ColosiBlue Maize |

Thomas ColosiBlue Maize

If upscale restaurants like Piñons and Syzygy are the grown-ups of Aspen’s dining scene, Blue Maize is the unruly teenager.Opened in 1997 by childhood friends Richard Chelec and Thomas Colosi, Blue Maize – with its “Southwestern, Latin American-style cuisine with a little Caribbean flair,” according to chef Colosi – has taken town by storm. And it’s not just the food. Blue Maize is fun, funky and fresh – both in what it serves and how it is presented. In short, Blue Maize has a high-altitude attitude that distinguishes it from Aspen’s countless Italian eateries, French bistros and upscale American restaurants.”I research the culture of the food I’m doing,” says Colosi. “I try to make it affordable for locals while at the same time offering incredible flavor and an appetizing look. I want it to be different and unexpected.”Colosi has succeeded, which is why we had to know where he eats and drinks when he’s not in the kitchen at Blue Maize.Gotta eat thereFish is the dish for Colosi, and raw is the only way to eat it when he goes out on the town. “I love Kenichi and Takah … I eat a lot of meat, so there’s nothing like going out to a sushi restaurant.”And for a more mainstream meal like a burger and fries? “Little Annie’s, of course. It’s all-American. They’ve been doing it for a long time, and they always do it right.”Cheers!”Happy hour … I haven’t been out at that time of day in years. Late night is more likely, and I’d have to say the Library at the Hotel Jerome. It’s nice, casual and nobody knows about it.”Here’s to you, my brotherColosi initially offers kudos to Barclay Dodge (Mogador) and Mark Fischer (Six89/Phat Thai), but backpedals a bit. “I’d say Mogador, but they know they’re great. … And Mark Fischer was one of my mentors back in the day, so of course I admire him.”So, continues Colosi, “I’d have to shout out to ‘Stretch’ Lopez, the new chef at Genre. He trained under Barclay [Dodge] and can do some great stuff. Now he has the opportunity to do more of what he wants. It’s nice to see, and I’d sure like to see him prosper from this.”The dishThis was an easy one for Colosi: “The steak and cheese at New York Pizza … reminds me of Philly.”Freaky foodConsidering Colosi spent years perfecting his culinary skills Down Under, it’s no wonder he chose alligator as one of the most outrageous meats he’s cooked up. “Alligator empanadas with sun-dried cherry vinaigrette and topped with a mint serrano chile mole.” So does it taste like chicken? “No, more like frog legs,” he concludes.

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